What do Plastic Spoons Have to do with Health Care?
22 January 2011

We are agreeing on the fact that something should be done with our health care system. The differences start with where that should originate or perhaps how much involvement government should have. Part of the reason for higher costs in the US is lawsuits. In countries with socialized medicine, doctors become a part of the government agency. If you are injured or killed under their care, you or your family have no recourse unless you can prove gross negligence or deliberate malice. If you lose, you'll pay for the government costs of the lawsuit in countries where "loser pays".

In the US, insurance companies are cartels. There is no free competition across state lines. Under Obamacare "reforms" you cannot buy a cafeteria style plan. Shelby will have to pay for mammograms and ob-gyn care and things he wouldn't need to pay for in real life. This one is the opposite of car insurance in California. When the state ruled that insurance companies couldn't charge girls less than boys, they "equalized" (can't discriminate don't you know) the rates by raising the girls rates to the boys rates.

As far as the constant price increases, let me give you a homily that may not seem directly related but is: I've seen a demotivational poster that makes some complaint about plastic utensils (sporks-perhaps?) saying that we are "too lazy" to wash them and it's just easier to pump the oil, ship it, make them, distribute them and throw them away. Seems very clever. Now, I want you to think of every take-out place out there. If they had to wash dishes, what would one restaurant have to spend to wash dishes? I know that new automatic dishwashers cost over $40,000. Even if they use a 3 compartment sink, there's around $3000-5000 to install one in a space. Then someone has to be paid to wash dishes. Then pay for the extra energy expense of heating the water in the dishwasher and pay for the water too. They will also have to install a grease trap to separate the grease from the water before entering the city sewers. They also have to pay someone to haul off the grease. They also have to rent the extra space for the equipment on a monthly basis. Don't forget that for newer construction this has to be built to allow access for handicapped employees. They will also need extra storage space for the dishes themselves. All this demand for space from all the restaurants in larger cities will make space LESS available. So there will be less space available for take-out places, and they will have to pay more in start up costs (keeping some from ever opening their doors) and in monthly rent (driving up the cost of service) and then there are the added property taxes for equipment used in your business. Many jurisdictions assess a 5-10% value tax on your equipment. Congratulations businessperson. You not only have to buy equipment, pay sales tax on it, but you can pay for it twice over if you're lucky enough to stay in business for 10-20 years. That is just the cost to the business owner to have metal spoons. There are going to be indirect costs with the taxes and surcharges on energy, water and sewer use.

Now, imagine similar expenses for everything that happens in a hospital. The downside to anything run or subsidized by the government is that bureaucrats get to decide what is appropriate for you. In order to avoid trouble, they will almost always go "by the book" and there is no alternative. That is exactly what happened when I was a building inspector.

How about people form their own coalitions or cooperatives? There could be categories for accident prone entertainers, never-go-out-of the house accountants, people with children, people who never want children (plan covers abortion but not childbirth), or various levels of whatever. You would have to invest some time into buying what's right for you. But that's what we do with everything else in our lives. Shouldn't we be willing to do it for the most important thing we own? Our own bodies? That's what these choices really are, a decision as to who ultimately gets to decide who you belong to: You, or the government. None of us know who or what the next government is going to be.

For those of you who think you'd rather trust government than private enterprise, I understand where you're coming from, but remember that governments killed over 100,000,000 of their own citizens last century. FDA approved drugs kill 40,000 a year. The US government is responsible for the Tuskeegee Airmen, and many other experimental studies that the subjects didn't know about. Some just recently in South America.

Remember that voluntary programs become mandatory. The people running the place may or may not have your interests at heart, even when they say they do. Mental health care is covered, but what if you don't take the meds that you're supposed to? Will that be a crime? Not yet. I point this out because most of my Liberal friends can see how this would benefit themselves and others, but they don't see the potential downside. Our government run schools don't have a real interest in educating the citizenry about what government has done in the past, and no interest at all in letting the citizens know what's going on right now.

James Foy - High Desert Tea Party


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